HKCA president believes cricket's inclusion in Olympics is vital for growth on mainland China
HKCA president believes cricket's inclusion in Games programme is vital
China's leading cricket officials believe the sport has to be included in the Olympics if it is to make any real headway on the mainland, says Hong Kong Cricket Association president Rodney Miles, who met the hierarchy in Beijing this week.
"The consensus I got is that it is essential to get cricket into the Olympics if real progress is to be made in China, especially support from the central government," said Miles, who took over the HKCA reins this month and has the development of Chinese cricket as one of his top priorities.
Miles met Liu Rongyao, secretary general of the China Cricket Association, and Zhang Tian, the deputy secretary general, and discussed how best to accelerate the game's development. China became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council in 2004 and for the past decade or more has been helped by the Asian Cricket Council.
"We agreed there are a number of priority requirements to help boost the game in China at the top level," Miles said. "The most important is to see cricket is in the Olympics; the main focus should be on women's cricket; the need for three main cricketing centres [Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou]; and to increase the number of Chinese coaches."
There is only one cricket centre, built in Guangzhou for the 2010 Asian Games. Miles said this centre was struggling to operate with urgent need for financial support.
"The CCA officials said more help would be forthcoming [from government sources] if cricket was in the Olympics and pointed to the growth of rugby sevens on the mainland," Miles said. "They also welcomed any support the Hong Kong Cricket Association can provide, and said they would be extremely appreciative of any assistance we can obtain internationally from other cricket bodies and/or sponsorship."